Health Care Reform: A Success Story for Lobbyists

The latest look at the public option comes from the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan economic analysts for lawmakers.

It found that the scaled back government plan in the House bill wouldn’t overtake private health insurance. To the contrary, it might help the insurers a little.

The budget office estimated that about 6 million people would sign up for the public option in 2019, when the House bill is fully phased in. That represents about 2 percent of a total of 282 million Americans under age 65.

This represents a resounding success for health insurance lobbyists. Universal Health Care is not going to happen in our lifetime. Health care will still be extremely expensive for the working class. And insurance company’s bottom line will go up, guaranteed, for the next few decades.

Any reforms won’t be fully phased in for ten full years. At the current rate our current system is killing people, nearly a half of a million Americans will die because of corporate health care before the reforms fully kick in.

If this is the best a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress plus the Presidency can come up with, why the hell did we vote for them?

The 12:50 at Kempton

We’ve lately been having a discussion in this country about freedom, and an old friend from “across the pond” had a few thoughts on the matter.

I exercised some freedom today.

At about midday, I took one of the PA’s from my office to the bookies as she wanted to lay a bet on the Football (yeah yeah, soccer) and had never been in a betting shop before.  Learning how to place a bet is almost a rite of passage

in the UK.  Bookies are very intimidating if you don’t have a clue how it all works and, apart from Grand National day, no-one is there to help.  You either know it or you don’t.  Hence I went along to explain the magic of accumulators and doubles from three.  Whilst in there, I had a little punt on a horse race and ended up losing a fiver – such is life.

I’m no expert on the US but friends who have spent time across the pond suggest that laying a bet in most states of the US is slightly more complex than popping across the road.  Conversely, I expect a visitor to the UK from the US would find it very odd that the only way to get a gun in the UK is either jump through hoops with the Government to (maybe) get a shotgun license or else head off to the black market.

Ah freedom and your different flavours.  As a result, it always worries me when you hear someone banging on about protecting your freedom as no-one can define what freedom means universally .  I’m glad I’ve got the freedom to waste my hard earned money on a broken down nag in the 12.50 at Kempton.  I don’t have the freedom to own a gun but, to be honest, I don’t want to.

I’m glad I’ve got the freedom to choose to get private healthcare if I want to pay for it.  Christ, I work for a company that provides private healthcare insurance.  But I’m also glad that, whenever I need it, I have whatever healthcare I need free at the point of delivery.  Yeah, no-one makes any money out of the NHS, which I suppose means the private sectors freedom to profit is reduced, but it gives the population of the UK the freedom not to worry about how much it will cost to fall ill.

Whenever you hear someone saying they are protecting freedom I feel it’s appropriate to put your hand up and politely ask whose freedom they are protecting.


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Boehner: I HAVE A PLAN!

Republicans finally unveiled their long-awaited health care reform plan today:

The American people have spoken. They oppose government-run health care. Republicans are on the side of the American people.

What Americans want are common-sense, responsible solutions that address the rising cost of health care and other major problems. In the national Republican address on Saturday, October 31, 2009, House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) discussed Republicans’ plan for common-sense health care reform our nation can afford. Boehner’s address emphasized four common-sense reforms that will lower health care costs and expand access to quality care without a government takeover of our nation’s health care system that kills jobs, raises taxes on small businesses, or cuts Medicare for seniors:

■Number one: let families and businesses buy health insurance across state lines.
■Number two: allow individuals, small businesses, and trade associations to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices, the same way large corporations and labor unions do.
■Number three: give states the tools to create their own innovative reforms that lower health care costs.
■Number four: end junk lawsuits that contribute to higher health care costs by increasing the number of tests and procedures that physicians sometimes order not because they think it’s good medicine, but because they are afraid of being sued.
For the full text of Leader Boehner’s address, click HERE. For more information about these and some of the other common-sense health care reforms proposed by Republicans, please visit the links below. The Republican health care substitute to be offered during floor debate on Speaker Pelosi’s government takeover of health care will incorporate all or part of the following bills:

■Empowering Patients First Act (Republican Study Committee Health Care Reform Bill, introduced July 30, 2009)
■Improving Health Care for All Americans Act (Shadegg Health Care Reform Bill, introduced July 14, 2009)
■Medical Rights & Reform Act (Kirk-Dent Health Care Reform Bill, introduced June 16, 2009)
■Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act (Gingrey medical liability reform bill, introduced June 6, 2009)
■Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2009 (Johnson small business health plans bill, introduced May 21, 2009)
■Promoting Health and Preventing Chronic Disease through Prevention and Wellness Programs for Employees, Communities, and Individuals Act of 2009 (Castle Wellness & Prevention Bill, introduced July 31, 2009)
■Improved Employee Access to Health Insurance Act of 2009 (Deal auto-enrollment bill, introduced October 15, 2009)
■Health Insurance Access for Young Workers and College Students Act of 2009 (Blunt bill to improve health insurance coverage of dependents, introduced October 21, 2009)

So, let’s look a the four reforms put forth by the Republican Party. Continue reading

The Watering Hole: October 31 – USS Ruben James

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on any topic.

On this date in 1941 the USS Ruben James, hull number DD-245, was sunk by U-552 off of Iceland while on convoy escort duty. She was the first US Navy ship to go down as a result of enemy action in WWII (This is disputed by devotees of the USS Panay Incident.)

Woodie Guthrie wrote this tribute to the victims from the Ruben James:


What in the heck is a ‘jobless recovery’ anyway?

Paul Krugman was talking about the ‘jobless recovery’ back in July.

All cartoons are posted with the artists’ express permission to TPZoo.
Nick AndersonHouston Chronicle Editorial Cartoonist and Animation Artist.
For Nick’s animations, visit Nick Anderson: Animation Archives.
For Nick’s cartoons, visit Nick Anderson.

Today in History – War of the Worlds

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It’s 71 years ago today that Orson Welles’  “War of the Worlds” was broadcast on the radio. The show was meant to be a Halloween program. It sure panicked some and made history.

Listen to it. At 3:40 into the program the fun really started. How would you have reacted?

Part 1:

Parts 2 – 7 below the fold. Continue reading

Fox News—“It’s a perpetual revulsion machine”

Raw Replay: Jon Stewart looks at how Fox opinion show influence Fox “news” reporting.

“See the Fox opinion guy’s outrage becomes the ’some say’ source for the newsside. It’s a perpetual rerevulsion machine,” explained Stewart.

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The Watering Hole: October 30 – John Logie Baird

On this date in 1925 Bonnie John Logie Baird demonstrated the first live motion television transmission in Great Britain. Baird built what was to become the world’s first working television set using an old hat box,  a pair of scissors, some darning needles, a few bicycle light lenses, an old tea chest, sealing wax and glue amongst other items.

John Logie Baird at Work – 16 Line Interlaced Scanning Wheel

Continue reading

The Daily Show Exclusive – Anna Baltzer & Mustafa Barghouti Extended Interview Pt. 1 & 2

HT: Reddit

Again, Jon Stewart is doing the job “proper” news should be doing. This episode is the first time in eleven years, that The Daily Show had a heckler. Please share this video with as many people as possible. There’s more to the Middle East conflict than mainstream media would let you know. There are, after all, Jewish and Palestinian activists out there, who defy their respective lobbies to really work for peace.

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The Watering Hole: October 29 — President Obama honors returning war dead

President Obama traveled to the Dover Air Force Base very early this morning to meet the flag-draped caskets of 18 Americans killed in military service in Afghanistan this week. Reporters witnessed Obama standing at attention and saluting the coffin of Army Sergeant Dale R. Griffin, whose family consented to media coverage. (Source: ThinkProgress)

HT: Paul Jamiol

Flag Draped Coffins

Standing in the pre-dawn darkness, President Barack Obama saw the real cost of the war in Afghanistan: The Americans who return in flag-covered cases while much of the nation sleeps in peace.

With that small gesture, President Obama has honored our troops far more than former President Bush ever did. The Bush Administration did its best to keep this all-too-human cost of war out of the public eye. Photos of flag-draped coffins were banned under his watch. One of the first acts of President Obama was to lift that ban.

The president saluted as six soldiers in camouflage and black berets carried Griffin’s remains into a waiting white van. … He immediately spoke privately in a chapel with all the family members. The solemn process of transferring remains of 15 soldiers and three Drug Enforcement Agency agents unfolded in four separate movements. Obama took part in all of them. A chaplain offered prayers for the fallen, the crews that brought them home, the families who lost a loved one, and a nation embroiled in war. By 4:45 a.m., the president had touched back down on the South Lawn, where even an active White House was sleepy.

He walked inside, alone.

This author has been to a funeral of one of our fallen. He has seen the mother’s grief as she was handed the flag from her son’s coffin. It was, and remains, a powerful image.

And now, President Obama has been touched, first hand, by that same powerful emotion. And he, alone, must make the decision about how many more mother’s children will he send off to die for Bush’s mistakes.

In this author’s opinion, one is too many.

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My work this past summer was directly funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Another crewmember and I cleared and rehabilitated approximately 75 miles of non-motorized trail in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico, including sections of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.

This work had not received funding for a number of  years due to the climate in our nations capital.

Next year the program will be expanded to include contract  crews also funded by ARRA.

There is a strong and burgeoning energy among volunteer organizations as well to support the wilderness ethic and accessibility to public lands for sustainable use.